Bernier Continues Leading Way

When Grande Prairie Storm head coach/assistant general manager Matt Keillor gets a moment to analyze the first third of his team's 2017-2018 season what will no doubt stick out is the team's consistency.

A 5-4 overtime win over the Bonnyville Pontiacs in Bonnyville Friday was the team's fourth in a row and seventh game in a row in which they have accumulated at each one point.

And when Keillor checks the stats to see who his most consistent player No. 8 will be at the top of the list.

No. 8 is Justin Bernier and Friday night he scored the winner 2:23 into the extra frame.

It was the 20-year-old Montmagny, QC native's 11th goal of the season and 31st point and puts him in a tie with Jordan Taupert of the Drumheller Dragons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League scoring race.

He also had two assists, his sixth three-point game of the season and ninth multi-point game, and has recorded at least one point in 16 of 20 games he has played this year.

His OT winner, his second in extra time in four games, put the wraps on a bit of a see-saw battle for the Storm.

Parker Smyth had given the Storm a 1-0 lead just 2:57 into the game, but goals by PJ Marrocco – first unassisted and shorthanded to tie it at 1-1 at 4:47 –  and then his second at 9:52 to make it 2-1 Bonnyville.

Dallas Comeau tied it up at 2-2 at 6:52 of the second period.

The Storm fought back on goals by Zach Okabe, just 44 seconds into the third, and Jonothan Hader at 4:33, to take a 4-2.

And then it was the Bonnyville's turn.

Marrocco completed his natural hattrick at 10:32, this time scoring on the powerplay, to make it 4-3 and then Lucas Thorne tied it at 13:36 setting up Bernier's overtime heroics.

Marrocco leads the AJHL scoring parade with 37 points.

Both goaltenders were busy.

Charles-Olivier Levesque looked at 49 shots while recording his eighth win of the season while the Storm fired 40 at Sandro Silvestre at the other end.

The win allowed the Storm to gain a point on the fifth place Pontiacs. They sit fourth with 27 points, four back of the Spruce Grove Saints and Whitecourt Wolverines.

The Storm head east to take on the Bobcats in Lloydminster Saturday before returning home for games Wednesday (Sherwood Park Crusaders) and Friday (Camrose Kodiaks).